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My Travel Story: Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi. - Page 3
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  1. #21
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    Re: Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi.

    Quote Originally Posted by Khun Don View Post
    Thanks for the link Khun Don, that does seem to be a very reasonably priced tour for what you get, so I would think, going on Richard's report, the other 5 tours listed should also be worth doing.
    “ The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. ”
    - Chinese Proverb

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  3. #22
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    Re: Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi.

    Walking from Hellfire Pass to Compressor Cutting

    At the end of the Hellfire Pass trail, just past the Remembrance Plaque, the trail continues on.

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    The end of Hellfire Pass (Konyu Cutting) and the old stairs leading back up to the car park.

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    The Remembrance Plaque, you can see the start of the walk in the center of the photo, behind the Plaque.


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    VISITOR INFORMATION

    Walking from Hellfire Pass to Compressor Cutting

    Visitors can walk a cleared section of the railway, from Hellfire Pass to Compressor Cutting. The large terrain model in the museum illustrates the features of the cleared section as it appeared in 1943.

    There is vehicle access to Hintock Road and it is possible to be picked up at that point. Small shelters are provided at the location indicated on the map. Toilets are available at the Hintock Road stop but a key must be obtained from the museum before starting out. No drinking water is available on the trail. It is not safe to drink water from streams or waterholes so please take sufficient water with you.

    The travel times for the sections of the railway are indicative only and visitors should make allowances for poor weather and their own physical condition.

    Visitors wanting to explore the entire cleared section should be prepared to set aside a day to complete the walk.

    Conditions

    Most of the walk is along the railway itself. Wear strong shoes or boots as much of the walking is along stone ballast of the railway.

    You should note that the bridge sites often present steep climbs even where concrete steps have been constructed. Running water during the wet season may be an obstacle.

    Wear protective clothing and footwear and take sufficient water for a return journey.

    Please take care!

    Museum to Hellfire Pass and return….. Allow 40minutes.
    Museum to Hintock Road (road pick up)….. Allow 1 and a 1/2 hours (oneway)
    Museum to Compressor Cutting and return to Hintock Road pick up point…… Allow 2 and a 1/2 hours
    “ The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. ”
    - Chinese Proverb

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  5. #23
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    Re: Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi.

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    Here is a map of the trail, (click on it to enlarge) The red dot represents the start of the Hellfire Pass to Compressor Cutting trail.

    The Museum opens at 9am and I arrived at the front security gate at 7:45am, I was told, not open! but I explained in my best Thai, that I just wanted to see Hellfire Pass. With a big smile the soldier let me drive in. For me, anything involving walking or climbing in Thailand, the earlier the start, the better and this turned out to be a fairly cool morning (for Kanchanaburi). On this visit, they had reduced the trail to end at the Hintok Road pick up point. This took me an hour each way, from the end of Konyu Cutting (Hellfire Pass).

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    One minute into the walk and looking back towards Hellfire pass and the Memorial Plaque.

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    First rest stop, the Kwae Noi Valley lookout. Low lying clouds were hanging around the valley on this morning.

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    River Kwae Noi Valley can be seen by the second red dot. Not too far into the trail but still about 35 to 45 minutes from the Museum.

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    THE KWAE NOI VALLEY

    From this rest station, you can look across the valley of the Kwae Noi, west towards Burma. Towards the center right of this view is the location of the wartime Konyu River camp. Supplies and rations were landed at the camp and carried, often on men’s backs, to the work camps surrounding the Konyu-Hintok area.

    Despite the proximity of the river, water remained in short supply along the railway. Water was necessary both for drinking and for working, being used to lubricate the rock drills and to fill the radiators of the few petrol-driven compressors available. While river or stream water could be used for working purposes, all drinking and cooking water had to be boiled to remove deadly contaminates such as cholera. Most drinking water used on this section of the railway actually came down from streams or watering points located at the work camps, rather than up from the river.

    Vistas such as this gave POWs a chance to reflect on their hardships and, sometimes, to find comfort in the natural beauty of their surroundings. For those whose tasks allowed them to move around a locality, such spots also provided an opportunity to build up a rare overview of work in progress. Because of the horseshoe shape of this section of track, and the then heavily cleared surroundings, a man standing here would be able to see work progressing all the way from Konyu to Hintok.


    In his diary Lt Col EE ‘Weary’ Dunlop wrote

    The course runs for four kilometres in a horseshoe with the open side to the river. Two great sidings are to be cut in the rocky mountain side and a great deal of embanking to be done in between (up to eleven metres). The site is hot and airless with the containing hills rock-jungle. The jungle view is rather ghostly with the prevalent grey/brown; almost all the tree and bamboo leaves have fallen at this time so that the vista is gaunt and cheerless like a woodheap without end.

    Lt Col EE Dunlop, March 1943
    “ The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. ”
    - Chinese Proverb

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  7. #24
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    Re: Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi.

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    If you don't have the time to do the whole walk to Hintok Road but you were OK walking to the end of Hellfire pass then a bit further on to the River Kwae Noi Valley lookout may be the go.

    As you can see from the above Photos, the trail is in a very good condition with no major obstacles to negotiate.

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    Not many people walk to this point, so if you do, you can find that you are completely alone, well worth the small effort to get here.

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    After the River Kwae Noi valley lookout, things start to get a bit more demanding, as can be seen above.

    Very steep descent on all metal and concrete constructed steps, they are not too bad as I found them all to be very well built and maintained and most had handrails. If you are not getting picked up from the Hintok Road pickup point.....you will have to climb back up them all and that can be a big effort on a warm day.
    “ The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. ”
    - Chinese Proverb

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  9. #25
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    Re: Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi.

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    Not too far from the River Kwae Noi Valley lookout is the Hammer and Tap Cutting. Named after the procedure uses to drill into the rock in order to place explosives.

    Little machinery was available. Most of the drilling work was done by the 'hammer and tap' men, a process whereby one man would hold and rotate a drill or 'tap' while his mate hit the head of the drill with an eight to ten pound hammer. When the hole was deep enough, explosive charges would be used, the broken rock removed by hand and the process began again. The process was slow.

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    The beginning of the Hammer and Tap Cutting.

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    In this photo, on the other side of the cut, you can see, just to the right of the path, a pile of lighter coloured rocks, these are from a recent rock fall and had just been broken up and moved to this position off the trail.

    There are a few signs along the trail warning of rock falls.

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    One time I wanted to visit but due to rock falls, the walk was closed.
    “ The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. ”
    - Chinese Proverb

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    Re: Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi.

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    The walk from the Hammer and Tap Cutting to the 7 metre embankment is a little demanding but doable and remember wear good shoes.

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    The start of the 7 metre embankment, notice the crushed rock on the path and how large the pieces are, if you are going to roll your ankle, this is the place.

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    At the end of the 7 metre embankment is where the 3 Tier Bridge started and the steps leading down.

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    The end of the 3 Tier Bridge and a good rest stop after the climb up.
    Last edited by fileeep; 21-09-14 at 08:35 PM.
    “ The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. ”
    - Chinese Proverb

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    Re: Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi.

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    At the top of the stairs and to the right of the rest stop, you will see this information board.

    Three Tier Bridge

    To Hintok Mountain Camp.

    Approximately 5 kilometres north of this bridge location was Hintok Mountain Camp, famous for the running water showers constructed by Major F A Woods, AFI. POW’s from the camp faced a climb up a sheer escarpment, using a bamboo ladder, before walking up and over the saddle of Hintok Mountain to reach work sites such as this bridge.

    During the Speedo period prisoners might work anything up to a sixteen hour shift and then be faced with a walk of 8 to 9 kilometres back to their camps, up steep hills and through dense jungle, often in pitch darkness.


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    Three-tier Bridge was hit at least once during Allied bombing raids. Above the bridge end of the cutting next to this stop a large bomb crater is visible. A second crater, which fills with water in the wet season, can be seen on the floor of this bridge site, and further bomb craters extend out into the jungle along the slopes of Hintok Mountain.

    The crater under the bridge site was probably left by a bomb that demolished the bridge at some point in 1944 or 1945. Photographic and anecdotal evidence indicates that the bridge was in operation again after the end of the war, testifying to the speed with which the Japanese, using forced labour, were able to rebuild bridges after bomb damage. Even a bridge of the length and height necessary to span this gap could have been rebuilt in a week.


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    The holes at the other end of the bridge.

    You may have noticed a series of holes or depressions along the southern embankment leading to this bridge site. They may look very much like bomb craters, but were actually caused by subsidence during the wet season in 1944. They are clearly visible on aerial photographs dating from that period. Rather than filling the holes the Japanese Army spanned them with a series of small trestles - this was probably a faster method of repair.

    It is possible that the subsidence was caused by sabotage – prisoners may have filled the embankment with vegetation rather than earth or rock. Once the vegetation had rotted, the embankment would give way.
    Last edited by fileeep; 21-09-14 at 08:53 PM.
    “ The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. ”
    - Chinese Proverb

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  15. #28
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    Re: Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi.

    I believe is is so very important that we never forget the sacrifices of the brave men and women who have given so much trying to protect the weak of the world from the tyranny of the strong.

    RickThai

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    Re: Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi.

    Quote Originally Posted by fileeep View Post

    There is so much information on the Thai-Burma Railway in there and so much to see, there is also a short movie to watch...
    Fileeep, I am not sure if this is the film you're referring to

    Titled "The Real Story on The Bridge Over River Kwai", the principal story teller, a railway expert, started with an interest on the railway engineering angle, but was later overwhelmed by the emotional content of his inquiry as his research progressed. The film presented interviews with the main Japanese railway builders as well as surviving Western POWs who had suffered atrocities under the Japanese. It also explained the background of what was later called "Hellfire Pass", why the need to launch the "Speedo" scheme, how the bomb that hit the bridge was developed, and other interesting bits related to this historical construction project.

    It's a short film. And I've watched it over and over..
    Last edited by Marie; 26-09-14 at 12:07 PM.

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  19. #30
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    Re: Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi.

    I am glad nobody has referred to the awful 1957 film "Bridge over the River Kwai" which implied the real (then Lieutenant-Colonel) Toosey was a collaborator. I remember this causing huge offense among ex Japanese POW's-one or two I both knew and worked with.

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